Saturday, July 23, 2016

What Makes a Novel Memorable? #RR Blog Hop 7/23/16

Topic for July: What makes a novel memorable?

The best stories connect with readers on a visceral level. They transport us to another time and place and put us in a different “skin,” where we face challenges we may never know in life. And yet, the commonality of the story problem draws us onward and, in solving it vicariously through the protagonist, changes us.
Another feature of a memorable story is characters that live off the page. One of the highest compliments I’ve never received for my novel “Lynx”, Rodeo Romance came when one reader told me she thought about my story constantly. She said that Lynx and Rachel’s story seemed so real, so heart wrenching, and their love so very enduring.  She said that she was going through a difficult time in her life and my story gave her hope.  Hope.  Hope for someone during a desperate time—I felt blessed that she shared her story.  I was also humbled.  It is moment such as this that I know just how powerful worlds and stories are to our readers.
While I never sit down at the keyboard and say, “I think I will write a powerful, life-changing story today.”  What I do, by nature, is select a social issue for the core of my stories.  Since my stories are character driven and often told in the first person, the emotion has a natural flow.
How do you create this type of engagement with your story?
Go beyond the five senses.  Your reader must feel your character’s emotions.  Your reader must forget there is a world outside of your story.

Embrace idiosyncrasies.  As teenagers everyone wanted to fit in, be one of the crowd.  Your character isn’t like anyone else.  Give him an unexpected, but believable trait.  In “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”, 99-cents for the next week on, my heroine, a Zombie has a pet. Not a zombie pet. Not a dog, or a cat.  She has a teddy bear hamster named Gertie.
Make them laugh. It doesn’t need to be slap-stick.  Just a little comic relief when the reader least expects it to happen.
Make them cry.  Remember the scene in the movie classic, Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder is crying when she writes the final scene in her novel?  I find this is the key.  If you are crying, your reader will be crying too.
If you are writing a romance, make them fall in love.  Make the magic last.  The first meeting, first kiss, the moment of falling in love.  These are the memories our readers savor, wait for in our stories.  Don’t disappoint them.
As Emily Dickinson, said so well: 
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Thank you, once again, Rhobin for this month’s topic. 
Please visit the members of our RR blog hop today and see what each one has posted.

Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Marci Baun
Rachael Kosinski
Connie Vines
Rhobin Courtright

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Social Media Tips for Authors

I am blogging today! Please stop by at Dishin' It Out.  Even if you aren't a writer, you may find the social media info & tips helpful,

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Software Programs for Writers # Sunday Snips & Stuff

As everyone knows I like to use software programs and social media.

I was reading my friend, Beverly Bateman's, latest blog topic titled Writers Software Programs (Blogging with Beverly on when I realized this was a very interesting topic.

I also began to wonder exactly how many programs I used when writing, plotting my novels, stories, etc.   I feel the content would be of interest to writer, readers, and those who man be looking for a program help them make it though the rigors of a AP, university level, or an extension class.

My go to program is Power Structure purchased via  Since I work in segments: Chapter 1 - 3, etc. rather than scene by scene or chapter by chapter, this program is adaptable to my thought process.  I am able to work in three Acts, Chapters, Scenes, or any structure model of preference.

Conflict, Subplot, plot point,  You can also change almost any term used in Power Structure to suit your personal preference.  I attended a class by Chris Vogler, a Hollywood screen writer, who uses Joseph Campbell's "A Hero's Journey" as a plotting bible.  Since I have followed Joseph Campbell's works and find the "A Hero's Journey" the best way for me to write a story (with the look of 3 x 5 cards when I feel like experiencing a flashback to my freelance magazine days).

Beverly also mentioned Dramatica Pro.  Pricey, yes.  I believe for characterization, especially for detailed historical novels, or when writing a continuing series, this program was a good investment.
This program allows you to work on levels for character development. If you so wish, you may print a StoryGuide at each stage of development.  This program also has a number of templates to choose fro, e.g., screenplay, novel, short story.  Each comes with an appropriate number of archetypal characters already created, ensuring that each character has a clear dramatic function in the story.

There is also a Plot Progression Window which lets me examine where to place a pivotal point.  There is also a Spin-the-Model Brainstorming option.  This helps when, heaven forbid, you have writer's block--and much, much less painful than pounding your forehead on your desk until your muse comes up with a plan.

On my iPad I have several program: My Writing (which I seldom open), A Novel Idea (where I have grains of thoughts/names of future novels) this takes the place of scribbles from my lip liner on discarded pieces of paper I'd find in the depths of my tote bag. I Do Notepad & I Do Notepad Pro which I will use but it have a devil of a time retrieving what I have saved.

The Journal app is good for free-flowing thought/plotting etc.  and also for using as a writer's journal.  You can create labels, change the font and even add a background picture.  This is were I many place the notes from my character interviews.

For more information about by novels, or to purchase my novels, please click on the bookcover, or links at the top of my blog.

Please visit the other authors in this weeks' Sunday Snip & Stuff.

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines (Tricia McGill) (Ginger Simpson) (Janet Waldon)